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Photos from ManiaFest Day Two!
Find out about the new FRIDAY THE 13TH DVDs and loads more
By Sue Schneider and Marcia Groft
September 24, 2003
Theater sign advertising the First Annual ManiaFest 2003 copyright Sue Schneider
© 2003 Sue Schneider
Day two of ManiaFest opened with screenings of PREDATOR
, all in honor of special effects master Stan Winston. In recognition of his groundbreaking work on these cinematic classics, Winston would be receiving the first Maniac Award at the festival's closing ceremonies on Sunday night.
As the day progressed there was a screening of MY LIFE WITH COUNT DRACULA
, a documentary on Don Reed, founder of the Science Fiction Academy and the Saturn Awards. Director Dustin Lance Black referred to the film as his "labor of love." Some of Reed's family members (his brother and his sister Loretta) were in attendance for the screening. This moving and informative tribute incorporated archival footage from past Saturn Awards, including the now infamous William Shatner rendition of "Rocket Man," interviews with Reed and the people that worked with him. It was a revealing look at the man, his life, library and legacy to the genre.KING OF THE ANTS
had its debut screening at ManiaFest. The film's director, Stuart Gordon, expects the film to have a limited theatrical release before going directly into video stores. Anthony Ferrante, Cinescape's Editor-In-Chief, conducted a Q&A panel with Gordon and other key members of his film. The producer, Duffy Hecht, told the audience "The shooting schedule was fierce with 28 locations in 24 days, covering everything from a zoo to a golf course, to destroying a house."
Jumping in, the star of the film, Chris McKenna ("Sean Crawley"), stated "The stunts were brutal as I had no stunt double. The fun for me though was wearing the prosthetic bumps and walking around in public, getting real reactions from real people." He also commented that he was all wrong for the role; in the book his character is described as being small. He found out the day before the start of production that he had gotten the role, a direct result of doing the table reading with George Wendt (Duke), who recommended him to Stuart Gordon.
Gordon went on the say that the producer wanted a name actor for the character of Sean, but it was Chris' innocence that won him the role as you have to care about the murderer too. As for the ant creature itself it was defined in the script by the novel and is considered an urban legend until finally seen on the screen. The film's composer, Bobby Johnston, was also on stage. He said that Gordon worked closely with him, using acoustic instruments, not electronic synthesizers, to create the film's score. Gordon added the picture's final sound is sparse, supernatural and organic, utilizing objects such as bottles and music boxes. He joked that things found in an alley ended up in the score!
And then it was midnight. A new print of FRIDAY THE 13TH
was shown at the festival, presented specially by Paramount Home Entertainment. It was also at this screening that a representative from the studio announced that Paramount is in the process of releasing the first eight FRIDAY THE 13TH
movies in a new box set. The set will include interviews with the movies' actors and directors as well as unrated versions of the movies, with Paramount currently researching for what supplemental footage and material exists and can be placed in the box set. By the way, does anyone remember that it was one of Kevin Bacon's first film appearances?
Paramount's Home Video Vice President of Publicity, Martin Blythe, was on hand to present the CUT 'EM UP FILM CONTEST WINNERS
. Third Place went to Hank Braxton's FRIDAY THE 13TH AGAIN
, a true homage to the franchise. Second Place went to Mike Boas' animated short JASON: REBIRTH
, and First Place was a sibling rivalry story by Patrick Rea entitled RUPERT TAKES MANHATTAN
(Kansas, that is...oops wrong turn.)
After the screening the film's director, Sean Cunningham, and the film's stars Adrienne King ("Alice Hardy") and Robbi Morgan ("Annie") took the stage with moderator Anthony Ferrante. Cunningham noted that in horror films, the bodies made by serial killers fall on cue. Ferrante chimed in that this movie had a cavalcade of bodies. "Yes, it's a metaphor, I did the body count, its scary and fun. It's all about how to get there," Cunningham commented. Ferrante then went on to note that the mundane is interesting by building the suspense and building the payoff. Cunningham continued that putting the film together, with no music or effects and the long single action shots got him on the edge. He felt the coffee scene went on for an hour and it still puts him on edge. But he knew she was going to live and he'd hate making that scene today because it would be a cliché.
Morgan said she had a nightmare and hadn't seen the film since its first screening all those many years ago. King interjected that the stunts were real and recalled getting decked by Betsy Palmer, who was one tough lady, but it was a good ballet. "I can still smell the sand," she said. King commented that she liked the new print, stating that the video prints were darker. When asked how he came up with the film's infamous title, Cunningham stated that while doing a kids soccer film he thought up the title first and then went on to imagine the film's ad: "The most terrify film ever made, coming in December!" The rest is history!
Also spotted attending ManiaFest's second day was Mark Walberg (host of TEMPTATION ISLAND
, JOE MILLIONAIRE
) who is married to one of the film's stars, Robbie Morgan. Wahlberg stated that this was the first time he had seen FRIDAY THE 13TH
(his wife is the first to be killed in the movie). Director John Landis made a surprise appearance to see KING OF THE ANTS
. Additional cast members of KING OF THE ANTS
, Lonnie Smith (Carl) and Peter and Michael Spierig (Undead).